Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept 20 - Chinese Acrobatics and Amebiasis

I got up early to meet my friends (turns out they are Swedish, not Norwegian. Oops) at the Lama Temple. It was nice but eventually I felt like I did in Europe - I don't care if I ever see another pagoda or temple (or baptistery, or duomo) again. I also still had TD so wasn't
having the greatest time. After the Lama Temple we went to Bahai Park and it was beautiful! The Chinese National Day is Oct 1 and they are decorating things and building floats and beautiful art with flowers, so it was quite spectacular. It had rained all night so the air was clear (for Beijing anyway) and it was a really nice day. You could actually see that the sky was blue and couldn't look directly at the sun. (I took a picture of the sun the day before where it looks like the moon because of the smog.) You should NOT be able to take a picture of the sun, let alone look directly at it on a "clear" day!!!

We climbed to the top where the white pagoda was, but the view wasn't
as good as at Jinshan Park the day before. We took a wooden ferry
across the lake and then went to an acrobatic theater to buy tickets for that night. Then I went in search of the SOS clinic. This was the third day of TD and I just want it to stop!

The night before I had the hostel staff write down the name and address in Chinese so I could show the taxi driver, but he still didn't seem to understand. So I fumbled with the map, got out in the general vicinity and then spent another 30 min asking and asking until I finally found it. Being Sunday only the emergency clinic was open, but there was no one else there so I was in to see the doctor quickly.

She checked my vitals and then, in a cool mix of Western and Eastern medicine, she looked at my hands and my tongue and said I was quite dehydrated so she wanted to give me IV fluids. She also took a stool and blood sample and came back about 40 min later and confirmed I did
indeed have amebasis, not a bacterial infection. So the strong antibiotic I am taking - which turns out to be an antiprotozoal actually - is the correct medication. But since I've taken it for almost two days and am not much better, she gave me one dose of something stronger to try and stop the diarrhea. But I need to take the full 7 day course of the other to make sure it kills it all. She
said it was possible that the steroid shot lowered my immune response, but most likely it was drinking untreated Gobi water since this takes about a week to show symptoms and I got it 6 days after I started drinking the water. Guess I don't have such an iron stomach after all. Note to self: well water in the Gobi desert is NOT the same as well water in America! Lesson learned the very hard way unfortunately. She also gave me a prescription for pro-biotics to replace the good flora of the intestines after the medicine kills everything. I always do this at home and I wish western doctors would do it too!

Since I wasn't going to have time to go back to my hostel before the show, she gave me a dose of the medicine I have from home. But I hadn't eaten in quite a few hours and you have to eat with the medication, so the nurses made me toast. When I asked if I could have more jam they brought in the whole jar! Lol They treated me very well. (I had made the mistake of taking it before bed on an empty stomach once, and was woken up about 30 mins later with rolling waves of intense nausea!)

The doctor said at first she only ordered 1 litre of fluid, but because my standing to lying blood pressure was 20mm lower, that indicated more severe dehydration so I got 2 liters. She said she was very surprised that I wasn't dizzy with that much dehydration. She asked if I am fit and I said yes, I work out at home a lot. She said that probably helped a lot because most people get dizzy with just a 10mm drop. So it's good to know that I'm fit because I sure haven't felt like it recently.

This is the doctor (right) and nurse that helped me!

Its hard to believe that a single-cell organism, the lowest form of life on earth, can wreak such havoc! I've decided that I'm going to start calling it 'my little worm' because 'my little ameboa' my just doesn't have the same ring. Lol

You know those t-shirts that say 'my grandma went to X and all I got was this lousy t-shirt'? Well, I paid $937 and all I got was a lousy band-aid (from the IV). Okay, I got a few medications too, but those were minimal. The big cost was the office visit, the rehydration ($300+ for 2 litres of saline!) and the lab tests. Seriously, thank goodness for travel insurance!

After the doctor I went to the acrobatics show and it was unbelievable! Ever seen 12 people ride one bicycle? I have now! There was plate spinning, hoop jumping, contortionists... absolutely amazing. I bought 2 DVDs and can't wait to watch them!

I went back to the hostel intending to have some dinner, but the kitchen was closed so it was a couple of packages of crackers for dinner. Oh well, it's probably better for the worm. He's really
fighting back though, because I think I've already lost at least half of the fluid I got at the clinic, in just 4.5 hours! The doctor gave me oral rehydration solution but said that if I can't keep well
hydrated I can come back in for more fluids before I fly home. Since flying also dehydrates you it could be dangerous if I'm already dehydrated when I start.

I decided that to have a better attitude I will list the things i am thankful for:

* that the toilets in the hostel are western, and the stalls small enough to rest my head on the door while going
* that I brought 12 packs of wet wipes
* wearing a dress when you have raging TD in the land of squat toilets (think about it)
* my worm ensures that I don't absorb many calories, so I can eat all the M&Ms and ice cream I want
* that McDonald's ice cream tastes the same around the world
* free toilet paper in the hostel
* that fancy shopping malls have western toilets, and that there are a lot of fancy shopping malls in Beijing
* English speaking medical clinics
* travel insurance
* that I live in America

1 comment:

Jen said...

I LOVED the acrobat show. Aren't they amazing? And if they mess up, they keep doing it until they get it right!